When I was seven or eight, can’t really remember, each morning at school soon after the whole class had greeted our teacher in a way that would leave ‘High School Musical’ drooling with envy, our teacher would proceed to ask each and every one of us two things that we knew. The answer was not supposed to be academic only, in fact during this session; our teacher gave more marks to those who responded with non-academic answers. Our teacher wanted us to respond with factual answers about the world, from our own country transcending to the region and the world at large.
Drawing from these inspiring little sessions from my teacher, today I want to share with you, not only two but also six things that I know. The things I am going to share with you can only become factual if you become part of them so it’s important that you run through them, and partake in at least one of them because as they are now, they are just projected tourism trends for Africa for this year.
New frontiers to reduce over tourism
The first thing I will share with you are destinations that you may not have heard of before. Just because you may not have heard of these places doesn’t mean they are not worth visiting. The opposite is true in fact. The first country with unbelievably unexplored and almost virgin safari adventures and lush forests is Ethiopia. I know this may come as a surprise but yes, Ethiopia does have lush forests and some mountains too with enough wildlife to keep your stay here eventful and entertaining. With merging destinations such as Ethiopia coming to the fore, expect those touristy spots to be less touristy as people embrace the new frontiers.
Mobile bookings the new normal
At first, we had to physically visit the travel agents, then came the internet and we now only had to look for a computer and an internet connection to book our tours. Recently mobile technology infiltrated even the impenetrable areas and as you shall see in 2018, no matter the destination, no matter the continent, no matter the country, no matter how remote the destination is, in 2018, all you have to do is visit travel agent companies straight from the palm of your hand.
Generational differences? What difference
I have been in the tourism and travel business for quite some time now and wherever I visit some industry experts in this field, often times I hear them strategising for different marketing methods for different age groups. To them, millennials ought to have their own travel guides while the 40-60 have their own and the 70+ having their own travel guides also. However, in 2018, it’s not going to be a thing whether one is 20, 50 or 80 because every traveller today wants a taste of everything. When I say everything, I mean that the same spots that entice a 20-year-old will entice an 80-year-old in 2018.
Embracing more Chinese visitors
In years gone by, the Chinese were not known for their travelling appetites in comparison with those from the West or Australia and New Zealand. However starting from the third quarter of 2017, more Chinese visitors came to Africa than Europeans. This trend is set to continue in 2018 and it’s expected that by the end of the year, Chinese visitors will more than double the figures of European and American visitors. Breaking down these ‘new’ visitors to our beautiful continent, it’s expected that female Chinese will outnumber their male counterparts even though they just cover 46 percent of the entire population.
More LGBTQ travellers
This one is a controversial pick but I am forced to write it here. Africa is a generally conservative continent where issues of LGBTQ are not openly talked about and in some instances, not even tolerated. However, in countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda where the community is more liberal, expectations are that these countries will more than double the figures of LGBTQ travellers as compared to 2017.
Cruise travel to gain momentum
Cruise travel is the new normal in Europe and the American continent. In Africa, however, many had not embraced it in years gone by. This, however, seems to be a thing of the past now as more cruise ships added African destinations to their itineraries. Most popular destinations for cruise ships in 2018 include South Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Zanzibar, and Tanzania.